• The Hungry Sloth

Tomato Orzo with Shrimps

First off I was writting this and until about the half of this post the title was Tomato Orzo with Shrinks. I spent an unusual amount of time thinking if I should make a Cannibalism category and let it there. Should I worry? Naaah, what could go wrong in a 45 days quarantine? Except from cooking your psychoanalyst, that is. While I'm starting to like this one, let's hide our ego and go back to the actual prologue, shall we?

A couple of days now, my mother insists to come visit me and my wife, to have a dinner all together. Yes I know I shouldn't say yes due to #quarantine and health issues, but I can't neglect her mental health given she is by herself for around one and a half month, and my mental health as well, because I won't get any more calls asking me to come. So after I agreed, things got more complicated. It's like I made a wish with an evil Djinn or I signed a contract with Rubelstilskin without reading the small letters at the end. She asked to bring #fresh #shrimps with her so I could cook something with them.

Well, no problem from me but she didn't like that idea first, later I should remove that ingredient because she doesn't like it, or add the other one. One hour passed talking about what to eat and just before I see myself out of the window, the planets aligned on a very simplified orzo with shrimps. I mean a veeery simple one. One that doesn't smell "sea in my plate" or "like fish". Well it's shrimps damn it. You don't have to be a shark to like them neither a mermaid. Anyhow, let's have it.

A couple of minced garlic cloves along with hot butter will start doing the trick by making the atmosphere, more magical! Use medium heat, use a bit of olive oil if you use a wok such as myself around the sides and when you get the strong garlic odor, get the shrimps in to saute them for less than a minute per side.

A shot of white #wine or #ouzo(magical potion that the Gauls used to fight off the Romans) is your friend here. Let the alcohol vaporise and remove the shrimps. On the same #wok, put a spoonful of #butter and in medium heat again let it melt. #Onion, green and red #pepper cut in small cubes have their turn now. Saute them until soft (couple of minutes, and add peeled canned (or not) #tomatoes. This procedure will cool down the heat a bit and will allow the tomatoes to lose some of their liquids. At 3 minute mark, add 2 cups of orzo and stir like crazy so it absorbs the butter and tomato juice that hides in your wok.

In less than a minute of hard work, stirring for unknown purposes, you should have something like this.

If you are at this step, you are half way home. Stick with me.

It's time to add liquids and slow cook while stirring (yeah I know it's boring...). The right thing to do here is to have the shrimp heads hard boil for 10 minutes, take them to your blender bowl, add a grated carrot, a grated zucchini, a small batch of parsley leaves, smashed black pepper, a couple of drops of olive oil and if needed a bit of the shrimp-head water. Blend them hard to get a watery paste. Take this paste out of the bowl and with a strainer push the magical paste in the strainer so the shrimpy juices drop in the wok where the rest of the food is. I feel I should mention that this procedure must be done BEFORE you start cooking. Then add 1 ladle of shrimp-head water to the wok and let it slow cook. When it gets drained, pour another. And then another. Keep doing this until orzo is #al #dente.

Of course instead of that magnificent procedure, I just put vegetable stock because Queen Mary didn't want shrimp to smell like shrimp, because... reasons. So I resumed from the part of pouring ladle after ladle of vegetable stock. Before the last ladleful of stock, add the shrimps, a full batch of parsley, crashed pepper and stir. Let it drain the liquids and then you have two options. One is to take a spoonful of butter to "glaze" the surface. The other one is to add grated cheese to give it more sense of umami and some more saltiness. I'm mentally fat so I did both, but there is one thing that we must have in common. Eat it now that is hot. No exscuses for delay, no "wait to make a quick salad" or "let me do some dishes first". Serve and eat. And that's it. Easy, yes?

Now if you are up to more complex tastes, taragon suits it fine. Thyme too! But do not exaggerate too much, perfection lives in simplicity.

Ingredients for four

  • 20 fresh shrimps (6-8 cm)

  • 2 cups orzo

  • 1 canned peeled tomatoes

  • 500 ml vegetable stock

  • 1 big sweet red pepper

  • 1 big green pepper

  • 1 onion

  • 1 shot of white wine or ouzo

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 batch of parsley (chopped)

  • Crashed black pepper

  • Optional: 100 gr of Grated cheese (your call at picking a solid salty one)

Cooking Time: About 25 minutes

Discussion Time: About an hour

Pro Tip: Try to avoid discussion! It's a brilliant chef move!



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